NBA Playoffs: Celtics/Wizards Game 7

Unfortunately, things have gotten pretty busy, which has severely curtailed my basketball blogging time. Maybe that’s good news for most people, but for the three of you that actually like to read this, I apologize. The Bonus is unfortunately not my real job, and life unfortunately doesn’t stop when the Playoffs start, as much as I think it should. That being said, we’ve got a Game 7 tonight with my favorite team (the Celtics) and like everyone else, I’ve got to step up and show up here in Game 7.

I’m wearing my Larry Bird jersey. I went and bought beer from a local brewery, Wormtown out of beautiful, scenic Worcester, Massachusetts, the same city in which Celtics legends Bob Cousy and Tommy Heinsohn played their college ball. Will any of this help the Celtics tonight? I don’t know, but it certainly won’t hurt.

It’s been a heck of a series, with both close games and massive blowouts. The home team has won every game between these two in the Playoffs, and during the Regular Season as well. Both teams dislike one another, and we’ve seen ejections, scrappy play and hard fouls. It’s basically been what a Playoff series should be, and it’s culminating in tonight’s hopefully memorable Game 7. Good luck to us all.

7:43 pm – Just heating up some leftover pizza and waiting for Divergent to end on TNT…

8:00 – Divergent’s finally over, and we’re treated to an epic Game 7 intro video by our friends at TNT.

8:07 – Kenny Smith thinks the Celtics will win tonight, while Shaq and Chuck are going with the Wizards.

8:13 – We’re finally taken to the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals! Ian Eagle and Greg Anthony will narrate the action for us this evening.

8:15 – Coming into the game, the Wizards are 6-3 all time in Game 7s, while the Celtics, having played in more Game 7s than anybody, are 21-8. They win the opening tip, and another chapter of NBA Playoff history is underway.

8:17 – After he’s fouled shooting a three in the corner, Isaiah Thomas hits all three of his free throws to give the Celtics an early 3-0 lead.

8:20 – Markieff Morris gets the Wizards on the board with a two pointer, and the Wizards trail, 3-2.

8:21 – An Avery Bradley three sends us into our first time out! The score’s Boston 8, Washington 2 with 8:51 left in the first quarter. It’s very early, obviously, but the Wizards seem like they’re playing a little out of control to begin the game.

8:34 – Jaylen Brown drives down the baseline and draws a foul. He’ll head to the free throw line for a couple of free throws, but first, we’ll have a time out with the score Boston 22, Washington 17 with 1:58 left in the first quarter. The Wizards rebounded from their slow start with a 10-0 run, and obviously are playing a lot better.

8:37 – Jaylen Brown hits his free throws, and the Celtics extend their lead to 24-17 as we return to action.

8:38 – We have an early “BULLSHIT” chant from the rowdy Boston crowd after they disagree with a foul call that earns Bradley Beal a pair of free throws.

8:39 – A more furious “BULLSHIT” chant is unleashed after Ian Mahinmi gets away with sending Isaiah Thomas to the floor with what should have been an obvious foul.

8:42 – We’re here at the end of the first quarter with a score of Boston 27, Washington 23. Five different Celtics have scored five points to lead a balanced effort, while Markieff Morris has 7 points and 4 rebounds to lead the Wizards. So far, we’re off to a fine start here in Game 7.

8:46 – Otto Porter tips in a missed shot from Bradley Beal to get the Wizards the first bucket of the second quarter, cutting their deficit to 27-25.

8:49 – Isaiah Thomas finds Kelly Olynyk all alone under the hoop for an easy bucket, and the frustrated Wizards take a time out with the score Boston 31, Washington 25 with 10:11 left in the first half. Olynyk’s got seven quick points off the bench to contribute an early spark.

9:01 – We have a time out after the ball goes out of bounds off Bradley Beal. With 5:50 left until halftime, our score’s Boston 42, Washington 36. The Celtics have the advantage on hustle plays so far. For example…

Meanwhile, the Wizards are doing just enough to keep this one close, despite some less than sharp play thus far.

9:09 – Isaiah Thomas baits Marcin Gortat into committing a foul, and he’ll head to the line after a time out with the score Boston 46, Washington 45 with 2:31 left in the first half. The Wizards deserve a lot of credit for keeping this one so close, despite their continued sloppy play. If they can keep it this close, they’ll have a real chance to steal the game with the likes of John Wall on the team. It’s enough to make me admittedly nervous as a Celtics fan.

9:12 – Back from the time out, Isaiah hits his free throws, and the Celtics lead is 48-45.

9:19 – Another “BULLSHIT!” chant after a questionable foul call against Marcus Smart sends Bradley Beal to the line with six seconds left in the half. He hits both of his free throws, and the Celtics call a time out to organize their final play with the score Washington 55, Boston 53.

9:21 – Marcus Smart storms to the hoop for a layup, which he misses, plus he doesn’t get the foul call. It sends us into halftime with the score Washington 55, Boston 53. Isaiah Thomas and Kelly Olynyk lead the Celtics with 12 points. Bradley Beal has 14 to lead the Wizards, while John Wall has 13, Otto Porter has 12 (after a scoreless Game 6), and Markieff Morris has 11. For those of you scoring at home, that’s 50 of Washington’s 55 points, with the other five coming from none other than Bojan Bogdanovic.

Both teams are playing hard, both teams have been sloppy at times, both teams have had players sent to the floor, and both teams have a good shot at coming away with the victory. It is definitely a Game 7.

9:26 – Let’s try and relax a little bit with an episode of Today in Playoff History, brought to you by the scholars over at Basketball Reference.

We’re going all the way back to 2015 to see the Hawks defeat the Wizards, 94-91, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, putting an end to that series. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 29, and John Wall finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 13 assists. Nene chipped in with five points and 11 rebounds.

DeMarre Carrol led the visiting Hawks with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Jeff Teauge submitted 20 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists, while Paul Millsap finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds. With the win, the top-seeded Hawks went on to get swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

We’re probably in for a similarly close game here in Game 7, with tonight’s teams fighting to take on those very Cleveland Cavaliers in this year’s Eastern Conference Finals. How will it play out? I don’t know, but I do know that I need another beer.

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9:38 – The third quarter’s about to get underway. Obviously, this could be a pivotal moment in the game. If one of these teams can get off to a good start to begin the second half, it could be the ball game.

9:39 – Bradley Beal opens up the second half with a jumper, and the Wizards go up, 57-53.

9:40 – Al Horford finds Avery Bradley cutting towards the basket for a layup, and the Celtics cut the deficit to 57-55.

9:41 – After an offensive rebound, the Wizards find Otto Porter for an easy bucket, and the Wizards go up, 59-55.

9:42 – Jae Crowder gets a layup, John Wall hits a three, and Isaiah Thomas gets a layup in rapid succession as the pace of the game is starting to ramp up. As the dust briefly settles thanks to a Marcin Gortat travel, the Wizards lead, 62-59.

9:44 – Bradley Beal hits a one handed shot over Isaiah Thomas, pushing the Wizards lead up to 64-59. He’s up to 18 points on the evening. Thomas answers with a step-back, and the Celtics trail, 64-61. Isaiah’s up to 16.

9:45 – Al Horford knocks down a straightaway three, and we’re tied at 64! Bradley Beal then takes it to the hoop for a layup, and the Wizards retake the lead at 66-64.

9:46 – After the Celtics miss a three, John Wall goes all the way down the court for a layup, plus he’s fouled. He misses the free throw, but corrals the offensive rebound, culminating in a shooting foul that puts Otto Porter at the line. He hits both his free throws, and the Wizards are up, 70-64.

9:48 – Al Horford barrels through the paint, draws a foul on Marcin Gortat, and flips in a goofy looking layup! It didn’t look pretty, but Horford hits his free throw, and it’s a one possession game again, with the Celtics down, 70-67.

9:49 – Otto Porter gets himself open with an up-fake and knocks down a two-pointer, giving the Wizards a 72-67 lead.

9:50 – Marcus Smart rises up and rattles in a three pointer that had me cringing when he let it fly, but cheering when it went down, Celtics trail, 72-70. On their next trip down the court, Smart makes a fairly atrocious alley-oop pass that Jaylen Brown catches anyway and somehow flips up and in off the glass. It leads to a time out with the score Boston 72, Washington 72 with 4:54 left in what’s been a stressful and lively third quarter.

9:54 – Marcin Gortat goes 1-2 from the line, and the Wizards go up, 73-72.

9:55 – Bradley Beal knocks down a three, and the Wizards lead goes up to 76-72. He’s made his last six shots, and has 23 points. Al Horford responds with a wild looking runner in the paint that bounces in, and the Celtics trail, 76-74.

9:56 – Marcus Smart blocks a John Wall layup out of bounds, and we’ve got a time out with the score still Washington 76, Boston 74 with 2:58 left in the third quarter. Both teams are flying up and down the court, diving for loose balls and fighting on every play. As much as it might take years off my life, it’s exactly what a Game 7 should be.

10:02 – Two Isaiah Thomas free throws tie us back up, this time at 76. It’s short lived, as Bradley Beal knocks down another three to put the Wizards ahead, 79-76.

10:03 – Isaiah Thomas ties us right back up with a three! It’s 79-79.

10:04 – Isaiah Thomas comes around a screen and knocks down another three! The Celtics take an 82-79 lead.

On the next trip down the court, Al Horford comes flying in for an offensive rebound, kicks it out to Kelly Olynyk, who makes the extra pass to the corner to Marcus Smart who knocks down a three! It puts the Celtics ahead, 85-79.

10:05 – Thanks to that volley of three pointers, the third quarter comes to an end with the score Boston 85, Washington 79. The Celtics responded nicely after the Wizards jumped out to a little lead earlier in the quarter. With the furious finish, the Celtics have the home crowd energized as we head into what should be a very exciting fourth quarter.

10:09 – Jaylen Brown opens the fourth quarter with a reverse dunk along the baseline! The Celtics lead increases to 87-79.

10:11 – With Olynyk at the free throw line, and continuing to contribute well off the bench, the Garden unleashes a “KELLY! KELLY! KELLY!” chant. He hits his free throws, and the Celtics lead is up to ten at 91-81.

10:12 – Isaiah Thomas knocks down a three! The Celtics are on an 18-3 run to inspire the Wizards to take a time out with the score Boston 94, Washington 81 with an even ten minutes left in the game.

10:17 – The Wizards respond with a 7-0 run, and after a Markieff Morris three, we’ve got a time out with the score Boston 94, Washington 88 with 8:48 left in the ball game.

10:25 – Kelly Olynyk and Markieff Morris just each earned a technical for some trash talk. Kelly’s got 21 off the bench so far, plus the T for the usually mild mannered Canadian. This is easily the best game I have ever seen him play, and it’s happening in Game 7.

10:28 – Kelly Olynyk knocks down another three, sending myself, and the Garden, into a fucking frenzy. I don’t know what’s gotten into him, but he’s out there looking like Larry Bird right now. The Wizards take a time out with the score Boston 110, Washington 100 with 3:25 left in the game. I’m pretty sure Kelly has like 47 points off the bench. Okay, he has 26, but it feels like he has 47.

10:32 – I would have continued embedding Kelly Olynyk tweets, but the game is back underway.

10:36 – John Wall goaltends a Jae Crowder fast break layup, and we’re heading into a time out with the score Boston 112, Washington 103 with just 1:01 remaining in the ball game. While Bradley Beal has been doing every thing he can for the Wizards, John Wall has absolutely disappeared, missing his last nine shots.

10:42 – The final buzzer sounds, and our final score is Boston 115, Washington 105. In what was a fun Game 7, the Celtics close out the series and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they’ll face the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both teams exchange handshakes and well wishes as they head off the court.

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 29 points and 12 assists, but it was Kelly Olynyk off the bench who really took them home. He finished with 26 points on 10-14 shooting, leading a trio of great efforts off the bench from himself, Marcus Smart (13 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and the rookie Jaylen Brown (nine points). Meanwhile, the Wizards bench managed just five points.

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Speaking of the Wizards, they were led by a worthy effort from Bradley Beal, who finished with 38 points, but ended up being the only Wizard with a pulse down the stretch. Otto Porter 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Marcin Gortat added six points and 11 rebounds. John Wall missed his last eleven shots, on his way to 8-23 shooting on the night finishing with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 11 assists.

Despite their disappointing finish, the Wizards had a great season, rebounding from a lousy start to take the top seed in the East to a Game 7. They’ve got a bright future, although, they’re going to need to do something about that lousy bench of theirs, and this Game 7 could stick with John Wall for awhile. Nevertheless, this team will be back next year, and they should be one of the better teams in the East.

As for the Celtics, their reward for winning this competitive battle is a daunting matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. It’ll be the fifth time the Celtics have faced LeBron in the Playoffs, but the first since 2012. Boston’s also the last Eastern Conference team to defeat LeBron in the Playoffs, not that it matters that much for this series. It should be a good fight, but even a staunch Celtics supporter such as myself has a hard time seeing LeBron losing to anybody in the East over the course of seven games. That being said, the Celtics will be ready for battle, and so will the Cavs, and I think we can all hope, regardless of who we root for, that it will be a fun and competitive affair.

As for now, I’m going to do what anyone should after a Game 7, win or lose. Have a goddamn beer. See you guys in the Conference Finals.

 

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Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

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